The unstoppable Loeri
An amazing view of the New Kingston landscape is what greets clients as they enter her fifth-floor corner office on Holborn Road. But for 32-year-old Sagicor financial adviser Loeri Robinson, the climb to the top was full of heartache, struggles and hard work.
Growing up in what she describes as a "comfortable family life", her world was turned upside down with the FINSAC financial crisis that took place in the 1990s.
"My mother and I had to move out of the town house that we lived in and shack up in a room in one of her friends' house. My dad never had it any better as things got so bad for him that he had to live in the back of one of his friends' restaurants in Waltham Park. It was a struggle as that period in my life was rough, and while many persons look at me and think that I'm 'uptown' and that I had it easy, that's just not the case," she told Flair.
Robinson has been a part of the Sagicor family for seven years, and is currently at the Holborn branch. She credits her upbringing as well as her struggles for fuelling her passion for financing and planning. "I did not ever want to go through that again. I wanted to always be able to provide for my family, so that drives me on a daily basis," she said.
It is only fitting that she has a job that entails helping others build a framework for their financial future.
Robinson loves meeting people, getting a feel for what they want in their lives, and giving them honest advice on how to achieve those goals.
"I've seen hard times and I feel strongly about helping persons avoid the same situation I had to go through. If I can help, if I can make sure that everybody is aware of the options available to them and make the right decisions, then I can sleep good at nights," she said.
Describing her father as an "artical bald-headed Rastaman", Robinson credits him for moulding her into the all-round individual she is today. She revealed that when he passed away, it was rumoured to be suicide. His estate, she says, was declared bankrupt after everything was sorted, so she and her siblings were left with almost nothing.
"My siblings and I got nothing from all of his years of working. He had a construction company and a wholesale, and all of that just disappeared into thin air and all we got was life insurance. So I know how important and how valuable life insurance is. It's amazing to me when people say they don't believe in life insurance, because it's foolproof. Nothing is more concrete than that. It helped my siblings and I to push a little further - even though my dad needed more coverage," she said.
"That's why the work that I do with Sagicor is so important. It is the groundwork for your financial foundation. If you don't have one then you're leaving yourself
careless," Robinson emphasised.
But she not only prides herself on being an advocate of women empowerment, but tells us that she embodies it.
"I was in an abusive relationship and I was almost murdered. Being verbally and physically abused was a regular occurrence, and led me to the point of almost committing suicide. I still have a scar on my wrist from my attempt. If it wasn't for my strong mentality, I would have been broken. However, being able to bounce back from that strengthened my resolve. Adversities fuel me, being told 'no', being rejected and being envied also fuel me," she said.
Even after having been awarded several top accolades from Sagicor, including the Pansy Ennevor Trophy from 2012-2016; The First Year Commission Trophy; Production Club Chairman 2013-2016; Executive Club Member; and Court Of The Table Robinson listed two of her greatest achievements as earning first-class honours in her banking and finance bachelor's degree, and becoming chairman of the Production Club at Sagicor (top adviser overall) within her fourth year of employment.
"I get bored easily, which is why this job is perfect for me. I'm not very big on nine-to-five jobs. I actually got a scholarship from the National Commercial Bank, who also made me a decent job offer which I had to graciously turn down because it was nine to five. The main reason I came to Sagicor is because I get to help people. A lot of persons aren't aware that Sagicor pumps back a lot of money into the economy per year, so it's not always about taking," she told Flair.
Robinson said her motivation comes from a higher source. Last year, she became a Christian, and said that being on the walk of spirituality has led her to find a lot of peace.
"I'm trying to live the best life that I can, not just for myself, but also for my friends and family and all the people who care about me, and also for my future husband and children. I'm not married as yet, but I need to get married," she laughed. The multifaceted woman was an entrepreneur from childhood days.
"I had a T-shirt line in prep school, and also had diaries that I handmade, and my father would support it 100 per cent. I use to bank my money. I would watch what I ate for lunch so that I could go home to put money in my piggy bank, so I've been a miser from I was a child."
On balancing her hectic work schedule and social life, Loeri credits her stint as a Cathy Levy 'little people' dancer. "You just have to make time for yourself. I also have four members on staff that I pay who help to support what I do, whether I am in office or not. I have a personal bearer, two personal assistants and one consultant. This ensures that my clients can always be serviced," she beamed.
She admits that her ultimate goal in life is financial freedom and to start a family. She also wants to start a foundation that raises awareness about mental illness. "There are several persons out there who are dealing with depression, etc, and I want to dedicate my life to helping them and their cause," she ended.